Bishop of Mannar, Rev. Rayappu Joseph, has told the Bodu Bala Sena that he is only a spiritual leader working towards the unity and integrity of the country, and therefore he should not be compared with the LTTE leader, V. Prabhakaran.
Rev. Joseph, while criticizing the Bodu Bala Sena as a movement fanning racist sentiments, said right thinking people must root out the movement in its initial stages.
He has also said the movement was trying to create divisions among various ethnicities and religions in the island.
The Mannar Bishop was responding to the Bodu Bala Sena’s statement, following a media conference held at its headquarters in colombo where the General Secretary, Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera, had drawn a parallel between Rev. Joseph and the LTTE leader Prabhakaran, and had also requested the people in the South to agitate against the 13th Amendment.
Rev. Joseph added that without paying heed to the opinion of racist elements like the Bodu Bala Sena, the government should immediately conduct the elections for the Northern Provincial Council. “Equal rights should be granted to the Tamil people in the North and East while bringing the heavy military presence in the North to an end,” the Mannar Bishop said. The Bodu Bala Sena, at the media briefing, had said that holding the Northern Provincial polls would lead to the creation of Eelam.
Rev. Joseph, who held a special meeting in Mannar to emphasize on the need for unity among the Tamil political parties, said in a statement released last week, “The Bodu Bala Sena, which has no address and is struggling come to the limelight by fanning communal sentiments, has compared me with Prabakaran. I cannot be compared with him. I am a spiritual leader; I am not a politician or an armed rebel. I anticipate peace and I am not for the separation of the country.
“My objective is to ensure that the Tamil people live with equal rights, with the other citizens of Sri Lanka. Therefore the Bodu Bala Sena, without understanding what I stand for, has accused me and compared me with the LTTE leader. By coming out with communal sentiments, the movement is trying to make divisions among ethnicities and religions in the country.
“The movement is trying to gain a place through the use of the media. Hence, the people of the country should nip it in the bud. Tamils also belong to Sri Lanka which comprises various ethnicities that live in a multi-cultural society.” (Ceylon Today)